THE Cross River State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bank of Industry for N500 million micro-credit facility for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs).
The Director-General, Micro-Finance Enterprise Development Agency, Ignatius Atsu told the News Agency of Nigeria, recently, in Calabar that the facility was meant for private-driven businesses.
Atsu said that the state government had paid its counterpart funds of N250 million, while the bank had also fulfilled its N250 million obligation.
“So, right now, there is pool of N500 million available to draw for medium and small scale businesses,” he said.
According to him, the agency has organised training workshop for the private sector operators in the state on the modalities to draw the facility. He said that some of the participants in the training were drawn from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
“They were called together for a 3-day training workshop to prepare them on how to access this fund,” Atsu said.
He pointed out that the agency had received several business plans from the participants, adding that they were reviewing the business proposals to ensure they conform to the bank’s requirement.
“It is important that they produce an acceptable business plan such that by the time we present them to the bank, a lot of them will qualify and they will draw down the loan,” he said.
Atsu added that Cross River State had won the hosting right of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) for the South-South zone. .
“It is a centre created by the Federal Government to provide opportunities for the youth and unemployed to be trained on how to run small businesses. They will also be empowered with some funds to enable them to be self reliant, not waiting for the government or other people for their living,” he said.